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AUS, German students conduct joint research to fabricate building panels using robots
Students from the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) at American University of Sharjah (AUS) and Wiesbaden University in Germany have recently collaborated in a workshop on fabricating building panels from formwork made only of sand. Held at AUS earlier this month, the workshop required the use of digitally controlled robots to draw patterns on the sand surface before they were cast using vacuum-formed plastic.
Current architecture ideas and technologies are rapidly evolving, demanding new materials and fabrication methods. Building components are characterized by mass customization. Future architecture and construction will demand customized and specialized components in a competitive and cost-effective industry. To meet these demands, new fabrication methods are currently being developed by research labs around the world focusing on digital fabrication. At American University of Sharjah, a fabrication lab was established two years ago to expand current teaching practices and foster innovative material research activities.
The workshop was held under the guidance of professors George Katodrytis, Associate Professor in Architecture at AUS; Joachim Kieferle, Professor Dipl.-Ing. at the faculty of Architecture and Civil Engineering at Hochschule Rheinmain, Wiesbaden in Germany; and Michael Dosier, Director of the CAAD Labs. "Such collaborative design workshops provide opportunities to share knowledge in computer-aided design techniques and fabrication by faculty and students of architecture from Germany and the UAE. These workshops provide a platform for both conceptual and material experimentation and enhance our existing curriculum content at CAAD," said Professor Katodrytis.
This was the second workshop held in collaboration with students from the German university. The previous workshop was held in late last year, during which participants generated new formwork methods by combining local materials (sand) with high-tech machinery (robots). During this workshop, flat sandbeds were vacuumed using CNC routers and carved by robots, and the resulting sand patterns were vacuum formed using plastic sheets.